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Senior Information Program Expanding Statewide

February 2, 2012

PHOENIX, Ariz. - Arizona seniors will soon have a new source of information about federal benefit programs such as Social Security, Medicare and the Affordable Health Care Act. AARP-Arizona is expanding its volunteer speakers program statewide.

David Parra, AARP-Arizona associate state director, says seniors are hungry for information about programs such as Medicare.

"They don't know enough about these programs - your part A, B and D and how they work - either in original Medicare or in Medicare Advantage. It's just a basic understanding that they don't have, and this creates much confusion."

Parra says more than 100 presenters have already volunteered and are being trained for the Community Educators Program. He has been pleasantly surprised by the quality of the volunteer speakers who have joined the program so far, he adds.

"We are finding that there are many who have done presentations before or who work in Medicare-related areas such as benefits. We're gathering a good group of folks who are very knowledgeable."

As the Affordable Health Care Act is gradually implemented, Parra says seniors increasingly have questions about how the new system will affect them.

"Most of them have heard a lot of negative things about it, so this creates confusion. That's why our program brings in the basics of how this law benefits them."

The Community Educators Program will hold sessions in places like churches and community centers, Parra says.

Any group can sign up for a presentation by emailing Parra at dparra@aarp.org. That is also the address to use to volunteer for becoming a presenter.

Doug Ramsey, Public News Service - AZ